Saturday, March 22, 2008

Lambing Limbo

We have now entered Lambing Limbo.

No, I don't mean that dance where you bend over backwards and try to pass under a stick.

I mean that Never-Never-Land between the date when our first possible lambs COULD be due, and the date where I know for sure some are due. That time when I can't help thinking that the lambs will Never-Never arrive. I call it Lambing Limbo.

Today was the first possible day (based on when the rams were turned in with the ewes last fall) that we could have had lambs born. The first possible date (based on a witnessed mating) that I know for sure lambs are due is April 5.

That's two long weeks of watching and wondering. There are several sheep that I have no idea when their due dates are. There are even more that I only kind of guessed when it might be---for instance, if I saw a ewe acting particularly friendly toward the ram on a certain day, but didn't actually witness the mating, I still wrote it down in my date book as a possible breeding date. Out of all my sheep, I have definite due dates for less than a dozen.

So now is the time when I start being extra watchful. Who is looking particularly far along in her pregnancy? Whose udder is especially full and tight? Are any of them going to lamb today? How about tomorrow?

I actually think it will be a while before the first lambs arrive, probably closer to the 2-week mark than to today. With our unusually hot autumn weather during breeding season, I think the ewes started cycling later than they normally do.

Even so, I have my bed all set up in the lambing area, just in case, and my lambing kit fully assembled and standing by. Whenever our first little ones arrive, I hope to be ready and on hand to welcome them to our farm.


Anonymous said...

Watching and waiting with you.....

Rhea said...

Do you sleep out near the sheep to be there on hand if one goes into labor? How exciting! Does the birthing generally go pretty easy? Good luck!

Your horses are beautiful! Congrats on all your sells lately.

Nancy Chase said...

Yes, any night that I think lambs might be arriving, I sleep in the barn next to the lambing pens.

Icelandic sheep give birth pretty easily, and don't normally need any help, but I still like to be their just in case.

If a lamb is badly positioned, I'll reposition it so it can be born, but usually all I need to do is observe, dip the umbilical cord in iodine, weigh the baby, and make sure it nurses.

Mostly I just like to see all the births because it's exciting to finally see what color, gender, and number of lambs come out of each of the breedings I planned in the fall.

Rhea said...

That sounds so wonderful! Definitely update your blog when they start arriving, I want to hear all about it! (pictures would be great too!) :o) Good luck!

Nancy Chase said...

Don't worry, there will be LOTS of lamb pictures coming up!

I hope to even manage to capture a birth on video at some point this spring.

I think that would be interesting for people who've never seen one before.

farmer, vet and feeder of all animals said...

Yes---lambing limbo. Very accurate term. One I hate and enjoy--- enjoy only because I know they will soon be here!